C South women’s basketball: North Yarmouth Academy defense is too much for Carrabec

AUGUSTA — The Carrabec women’s basketball team has big aspirations this season, with a Class C South title seemingly within reach.

But then the No. 2 Cobras came up against a tough North Yarmouth Academy side, who took the proverbial upper hand thanks to solid defense.

No. 3 NYA ousted No. 2 Carrabec 42-28 in a Class C South semifinal game Thursday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center.

The Panthers (17-2) advance to the regional final on Saturday in Augusta. Carrabec finished 15-3. It was the first time this season that the Panthers and Cobras met on the floor.

Point guard Angel Huntsman led NYA with 15 points, while forward Graca Bila added 10. Guard Julia Baker led the Cobras with eight points, while forward Lindsay Hamilton added seven.

“From what we saw (of Carrabec on film), we thought we were faster, but we thought they were stronger,” NYA head coach Tom Robinson said. “I think our defense came out and I think we held them to two 3-pointers in the first half, with our man-to-man defence.”

The Panthers’ press made life difficult for Carrabec, especially in the first half when it forced several turnovers. Up 7-4 after the first quarter, NYA beat Carrabec 15-5 in the second quarter — including an 8-0 run — to enter halftime with a 22-9 lead.

“We had a hard time getting the ball in the hoop,” Carrabec head coach Skip Rugh said. “It just wasn’t our day to shoot. If you were to tell me we were going to hold them to 40 points, I would have said we had a good chance of winning this game. We really struggled to get anything going offensively.

North Yarmouth Academy’s Josie Harper-Cunningham, left, and Madilyn Onorato, right, overtake Carrabec’s Cheyenne Cahill during a Class C South women’s basketball semifinal Thursday at the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Carrabec was not going to be taken lightly, beating the Panthers 12-7 in the third quarter. But Huntsman and Bila helped seal the game for NYA in the fourth quarter.

“(Carrabec) had a great race, but I felt like if they had to rush us, that’s what we wanted, we want to be rushed,” Robinson said. “(Huntsman) is a (female) breaker.”

Huntsman paced the NYA offense, not just with her scoring, but with her ability to distribute the ball to her teammates.

“She’s a real playmaker,” Robinson said. “If you need someone to give the ball to your markers, she will give it to you. She can handle it. She is selfless. If she shoots normally like she did tonight, she is difficult to defend.

It was the last game for six Carrabec seniors: Aliyah Grunder, Cheyenne Cahill, Courtney Rollins, Baker, Brooke Welch and Charlee Davis.

“They’ve been an engaged group, even last year, through COVID,” Rugh said. “They are a special group and they will be missed.”

Dave Dyer – 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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